Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vienna Town Council sends Bikeway Plan changes to BAC

At last night's Vienna Town Council meeting several cyclists testified against the proposed amendment to the Town Bikeway Plan: "Bicyclists riding on sidewalks and bikepaths shall be required to stop at all intersections, crosswalks and/or street crossings." Many cyclists noted that if the roads were safer, cyclists wouldn't need to ride on the sidewalk. They asked that bike lanes be installed, especially along Nutley Street leading to the Vienna Metro Station. Mayor Seeman and others indicated they had received many emails from cyclists who were concerned about the proposed change.

In our FABB testimony we pointed out that the best way to address the high number of crashes that have occurred between cyclists riding on the sidewalk and motorists (27 with 1 fatality in recent years) was to make the streets of Vienna more bike-friendly and to improve bicycle education. We also suggested that the soon-to-be-formed bicycle advisory committee review the proposed changes to the Bikeway Plan and expand the plan to become a true bike plan that includes goals and objectives, suggested bike routes and other facility improvements, prioritized list of projects, and strategies for implementation.

Councilman Lovelace offered a motion to defer a decision on the proposed amendments until the bicycle advisory committee could review them. Councilwoman DiRocco offered a friendly amendment to suggest that the advisory committee consider expanding the Bikeway Plan to include many of the elements contained in a bicycle master plan. The motion passed unanimously.

Thanks to everyone who wrote to the Council and who testified at the public hearing. We think this is a step toward making Vienna a more bicycle-friendly community.


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